January-July 1843

The Collected Letters, Volume 16


TC TO JAMES G. MARSHALL ; 1 February 1843; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18430201-TC-JGM-01; CL 16: 39-40


Chelsea, 1 feby, 1843—

Dear Marshall,

Many thanks for your good hearty Letter; the sunniest I have read for a good many days. I hope that Forster will call upon you soon;1 that you will find one another mutually supportable Phenomena in this world, where it is not pleasant to be alone!—

What you report of your recession from Public Radicalism is altogether agreeable to me.2 You have chosen the better part, I do honestly think. It needs that you go on in the same, to higher and higher heights; that hundreds and thousands gradually fall into the same, and escort and encourage you thereon! This is actually my opinion. A real Aristocracy. in place of a false imaginary Aristocracy, is becoming and already become indispensable for English Society,—and the Captains of Industry, not the Captains of Idleness whatever array and honours they may for the present hold, are the men for that.3 Not “arms and the man” now our epic; no, it is “Tools and the man.”4 Not “arms and the man”; how much less “White waistcoats and the man!” I counsel you to go on, and be a real King, and guide, and just Law-ward (antique for “Lord”5) or Preserver of God's Law, among your people. The first man that effectually accomplishes such an example will be a blessed man in England. Go on, and fear not! Indeed, “it is not pleasant to be alone,” as I say; but every man must hold himself ready, on occasion, to be it. All good fellows I have ever heard of were often-times in that same “minority of one”: they stood there, worked there, and it gradually became a minority of two, of many; gradually a majority, and at length a universality!

The Book I am writing will be at Press, if I prosper, in some six weeks, and out before the summer. It is properly a development of the very things I am now writing here to you. I think of calling it “Past and Present,” or some such title: it is partly historical, partly oratorical,—dreadfully difficult to bring under any of the “icals” or “oricals,” and keep from looking too bedlamical! A “Tract for the Times” full of the most portentous Speculative-Radicalism ever uttered in Governess-English, or even in Carlylese as they call it!— All this is a dead secret hitherto, and you need not speak of it to anybody.

Mrs Marshall sends me a beautiful Postscript; for which pray return her in my name most kind thanks;—I will thank her in speech again, some day, by and by.6

Good Speed to you always! Yours very truly

T. Carlyle